Daniela Vega on stage at the 90th Academy Awards — Photo: ABC Television Network / Screenshot
History was made Sunday night when A Fantastic Womanwon Best Foreign Film at the 90th Academy Awards.
The Chilean film is the first Oscar-winner to feature a trans-focused narrative portrayed by an out transgender actress.
In the film, directed by Sebastián Lelio, Daniela Vega plays Marina, a trans woman whose partner unexpectedly dies, with Maria then forced to endure discrimination from her lover’s family. Lelio accepted the award with Vega onstage beside him, calling her the “inspiration” for the production.
In addition, Vega also made history as the first openly trans actress to be a presenter at the awards ceremony.
“Thank you so much for this moment,” Vega, who was introducing Sufjan Stevens’ performance of “Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name, said. “I want to invite you to open your hearts and your feelings to feel the reality, to feel love. Can you feel it?”
A Fantastic Woman was not the only LGBTQ winner at last night’s awards. James Ivory, writer of gay coming-of-age romance Call Me by Your Name, won Best Adapted Screenplay. Ivory, who is gay, became the oldest person to ever win the award at 89 years old.
During their acceptance speech after winning Best Animated Feature for Disney’s Coco, producer Darla Anderson and co-writer Adrian Molina thanked their same-sex partners in an emotional speech that also saw director Lee Unkrich deliver a less than subtle blow to the Trump administration’s hostility towards Mexico.
While it did not win Best Documentary Feature, history has already been made with Yance Ford’s Strong Island. A documentary about the death of his brother and the failure of the justice system to properly prosecute his murder, it marked the first time that an openly transgender director was nominated for an Academy Award.
“I fully recognize the importance of being out. And I also recognize that not everybody can be out,” Ford said. “And that for those of us who can be out, and not lose our jobs or our places to live or be in physical danger, I think that it’s an obligation.”
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